A Social Security card is displayed on Oct. 12, 2021, in Tigard, Oregon. Credit: Jenny Kane / AP

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Please stop endorsing the Social Security charade. Yes, it is true that Social Security has a trust fund; that actuaries annually measure incoming payroll taxes and outgoing benefit payments; that the actuaries have determined the trust fund will soon become unsustainable; and that the trust fund cannot run with a deficit. I think it is a charade that the Social Security trust fund will have to reduce paying benefits to millions of American retirees.

Congress can fix the problem by simply passing a law that directs Social Security to continue paying full benefits. This may not be a sensible solution because running Social Security with a deficit may crowd out the discretionary spending part of the federal budget. To improve sustainability, the simple solution is a modest increase of the 12.4 percent payroll tax and an increase of the $160,000 cap on taxable wages to $1 million.

And by the way, federal budget deficits did not matter to President Ronald Reagan, to George W. Bush, or to Donald Trump. Equating the federal budget to a family budget is another charade foisted on Americans by politicians. My message to Sen. Angus King is to step aside in 2024 and help pass his torch to a progressive Democrat who understands economics.

Stephen Freeman

Presque Isle